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  • Writer's pictureYasmine El-Baz

Top Five Disastrous Thinking Patterns In Public Speaking

Despite the fact that public speaking is quite a challenge for many, but having tons of negative thoughts can add more pressure on you. That’s why it’s essential to start reducing your stress by adjusting those thoughts.

Below are the top five disastrous thinking patterns that contribute to your anxiety in public speaking.

1) My presentation must be perfect

You should never aim to have a "perfect" speech or presentation, it's unrealistic. There are simply too many factors to take into account, one major factor is the "audience" of course and you'll always be too much or too little for somebody. Perfection is exhausting and it drains emotions.

Your goal is to make a connection with your audience. Accept that you’ll make some mistakes, you’re a human.

2) I must not forget anything

You’re the only one who knows exactly the content of your presentation. Your audience probably won’t even notice.

Make sure to memorize your content’s most important key points instead of memorizing sentences. It’s also a good thing to write those points in a notebook in front of you, in case you needed to take a quick glimpse at them, but make sure not to do this too often. In case you forget a certain part, replace it and move on to the next point. Again remember, no one knows what you are planning to say.

3) I must have an answer to every question

You’re not expected to immediately know the answers of all the questions posed by your audience. If the questions are about the latest statistics or about different opinions, it’s totally okay not to have an answer for such questions.

Become comfortable with difficult questions and saying “I don’t have an answer now, I’ll need more time to be sure of the right answer.” or “That’s outside the scope of my expertise” or “ That’s an excellent question, I’ll get back to you in this during the break or after I review the latest reports.” It’s also recommended to practice this in your rehearsals. Have colleagues or family members interrupt you with questions and practice dealing with them.

4) I must not be stressed at all

Everyone can relate to having some nervousness about public speaking, that's 100% normal. What matters is whether you prepare for your presentation/speech or not, and how well is the organization of your content, and whether it meets the needs of your audience or not. Accept your stress, it’s a sign of your care and eagerness. Being nervous is a part of the public speaking experience, that’s why you need to focus your attention on the value you want to deliver instead of putting all your attention on how stressed you are. And remember that in many cases, presenters assume that their stress is too obvious to the audience, while in a matter of fact it isn’t!

5) It will be a disaster if I face a technical problem

We’re often told stories of events where videos didn’t work as planned or there was a problem with the microphone or the technology stopped working.

It’s essential to have a backup plan for everything and to arrive early to test everything. But what you need to remember is that even if the plan you had didn’t go well, it’s fine, because what really matters is how you react to that unexpected change. Your audience will be okay with changes, but they won’t like feeling you lost control over your presentation.


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